My run of 13miles started off with a decent tailwind and a 6:50 mile. I had no intention of pushing the pace - it was merely a maintenance run - but despite the decent hill up by the posh houses at Warwick Bridge and the inevitable headwind to close the day, I seemed to naturally increase the pace and ended up with 6:42 overall but feeling like I had been out for just a 7/8 mile jog Finishing by 12 noon meant I had a full 24hrs before the Skiddaw fellrace on....
.....Sunday. My warm up for the race was as slow walk up Latrigg with Scamp.We got very wet. but all then cleared up nicely for the race itself. My plan was to run as much of the climb as possible. Previously in fellraces I have reduced to walking when I noted people around me walking. I have decided that was a BAD way to race. Better to walk only once I myself feel I can run no longer rather be dictated to by others.
The first part of the climb, up Lattrigg path to the Gale Rd carpark isnt really steep enough to warrant walking by anyone, and I settled into a small group of 2 or 3 in about 15th place overall. At the final bend prior to reaching the Gale Rd carpark I took the little known shortcut straight up the steep hillside rather than stay on the path. At the top gate I was then 25metres in front of the group I had been with, and much closer to the lads ahead. Local knowledge.
Only Michael Cunningham, a lad I have never even been close to in fellraces before, caught me back up and we stayed together all the way to the first high gate (where it levels off and you go right to miss the climb of Little Man). Michael had been walking on the steepest sections, hands on knees style. Although I was running no faster than his walk pace, once the gradient eased and running was possible again, I found I was able to stride out almost in a proper running style (as opposed to the baby steps forced upon you on the steepest sections). I'm sure that if I had been walking I would not have then ran as fast as I did.
After easing away from Michael up to the summit section, which I estimate must have been 50mph plus winds, he then caught me back on the initial steep rocky descent. Again I eased away on the next flatter part but felt sure he would disappear into the distance once we hit the flagged section where the race is allowed to leave the tourist footpath and crosses rough tussocky hillside. Indeed he did move ahead but no more than 20-40 metres and I regained this as soon as we hit the bottom of Jenkin Hill. The section from Gale Rd carpark to the finish is all very runnable and saw me put over a minute into Michael. All in all this was my best fellrace ever. Sub 80 minutes is a benchmark for this race. Apparently, back in the day you got a certificate for that time.
The next day I was expecting to have legs so sore I would struggle to walk. Perhaps the marathons 4x descents from Gale Rd helped me toughen up because there was only the merest hint of DOMS and I had no trouble completing an easy 6 mile jog along the river route with Scamp.
Plucky hasn't been doing a lot of running of late and the Tuesday runs with him have been no more than a moderate effort. With this in mind I said I would be looking to increase the effort considerably for the last couple of miles of our planned 8 mile loop. As we set off I immediately realised that Plucky, on much fresher legs than mine, was intent on taking the promised sting away by forcing a decent pace early on. Darren was there too and his Garmin reported average pace dropping like a stone the further we ran. At 4 miles and 6:22 average Darren was dropped, leaving me and Plucky to finish together at 6:12 pace overall. It was a superbly hard run. My legs were so full of crap from the Skiddaw race that I couldn't reach full cardiovascular potential and really suffered trying to keep Pluckys pace. Plucky was the opposite, reporting that his legs felt superb and he was relishing in the ultra hard workout he was inflicting on his heart and lungs. Afterwards. I thought I was going to throw up at the roadside. Me and Plucky have been battering each other on bike and foot for nearly 25 years now. He's my best pal but theres also nobody I have more pleasure in beating. At least today was a draw - losing would be bad considering how good he can ride a bike at present.
|Despite the 35 million year age difference I am in love with Blencathra. Scamp also likes.|